Occupy Skagit Redux


Active Member
Funny how two bios (that fish) support this attempt to start the process to get a rule change. One of them even managed the drainage. And neither are concerned about C&R, selective gear rules being a problem.

And one anti-angler continues to parrot the PETA company line...If you don't like fishing and fisherman, feel free to start your own de-occupy movement.


Active Member
Freestoneangler -
The Skagit wild steelhead escapement goal maybe one of most conservative in the State. Many folks have questioned managing for MSY escapments. The best information from specific from the Skagit since 1978 indicates that an MSY escapement goal would be approximately 3,800 steelhead. Therefore the so-called escapement floor of 6,000 is more than 150% of the best estimate of MSY. BTW from the 1986 brood year to today the spawner/recruit date would indicate that MSY levels for the period would be even lower at 3,200.

In relation to MSY levels do you know of any other system in the State with a such a conservative goal? Of course managing for such goals are a bit of a double edge sword. On the plus side such goals provide a significant buffer to cover management errors. On the negative side such goals assure that there will be years or even a period of years when that goal will not be met (see recent years) due to the fact that during periods of low survivals th carrying capacity may well be below the goal. Such low escapements may not be fisheries management failures; rather an indication of the state of fresh and marine water survivals.

By allowing CnR fisheries and the associated low impacts at such a buffer goal would represent little risk to the long term viability of the steelhead resoruce. For folks concern about the risk from such a fisherI would suggest that your concerns are miss placed. The resource would be better served if those concerns were direct at the factors that are truly limited that steelhead population. Rather than suggesting that there be no CnR fishing those of us living in Seattle area or those served by Puget Power could do more for the resource by turning off our computers and lights - the generation of that electricity is responsible to more impacts than that from any CnR fishing.



Active Member
Great to see the momentum and enthusiasm building. Beyond the symbolic day on the water and our testimony before the commission, it would be great to generate broader awareness of this issue among the public, local government and businesses that will help move the Commission and govt agencies to consider and act. In that regard, any thoughts on how difficult is it to have an opinion piece published in the Seattle Times, The Olympian, etc.?
Jason,good to see ya back yo,I hope to,and will do all I can ,to swing flies in the spring a couple years from now to the offspring of the steelhead ive tailed in the last week and coming week before the closure. See ya out there....
I think we need to be concentrated on one area to meet up. IF we are scattered all up and down the river in different spots, it will just look like an opening day of fishing on most of our rivers.


Geriatric Skagit Swinger
If we are going to ask that openings happen on a river by river basis, we should think about what will happen if the Samish is the only river open, or the NF Stilly. A small stream being the only steelhead fishery in the region deserves careful thought.
Ideally the best thing would be to singularly pluck the Skagit out of the ESA Puget Sound Listing. I'm pretty sure it would set some kind of a precedent and because of that it is highly unlikely to be done. However, the logic of it keeps the idea in the tackle box.

A basin by basin evaluation is something that has already been done for Chinook so there is no need to 'invent' anything. Remember, WDFW still retains the emergency closure power. Closure that is not inconsistent with recovery goals creates no conflict with the ESA listing and gets done at the drop of a hat.

I don't have the time or energy to do a basin by basin analysis. There may be other basins in as good a shape as the Skagit but I wouldn't bet on it - most of them are closer to major urban areas.


Geriatric Skagit Swinger
This report from WSC suggests 6000 to be the "floor escapement level" (new term to me) . The 6857, 30 year avg. you state doesn't seem like a significant safety margin and why I was suggesting to just maintain the most conservative approach (no C&R). From my experiences with like issues/discussion on the Green River in the 80's, I recall there being changes over the past 30+ years in how fish numbers are derived...pretty much made a witches brew of data.

Curt has already explained the "floor escapement level" concept better than I ever could.

What you linked to is not a report, but an article that is now over a year old. It mentions 'concerns' about a draft management plan for the 2011-2012 Skagit fishing season. I'm having a hard time figuring out what their concerns are but did note a few things.
The Skagit Basin fishery has been experiencing significant declines of wild steelhead numbers and has resulted in early closures of sport fishing seasons in recent years.
The actual escapement numbers are this:
2001 - 4584
2002 - 5394
2003 - 6818
2004 - 7332
2005 - 6382
2006 - 6757
2007 - 4242
2008 - 4887
2009 - 2502
2010 - 3981
2011 - 5462
If you study these numbers you will see that only three times in the previous ten years did the run actually decline from the previous year. 70% of the time the numbers increased! Is this how you would descibe "experiencing significant declines of wild steelhead numbers"?

I also noted that the forecast for the 2010 season was 4,136...actual escapement was 5,739.
A difference of 1,603 fish!

I also noted that this graph fails to show the actual after season return estimate of 6,185

The goal of Occupy Skagit is different than that of the WSC.
Their mission statement:
The Wild Steelhead Coalition was founded in 2000 with the mission of increasing the return of wild steelhead to the rivers and streams of the Pacific Northwest.
A very noble and worthwhile goal. I'm a little fuzzy on why they want to increase the return, (I suspect it's so they can go fishing) and I'm even more puzzled as to how anyone will know when their mission is complete, (I suspect never)

Our goal:
To restore the catch and release season on the healthy run of Skagit wild steelhead.

There it is; a reachable, well defined finish line.


This is a tremendous idea! It would make my spring to be able to spend it on the Skagit and the Sauk, the OP is a long haul for us Snohomish county folk. I will have to mark the calendar for April 6th.